THE SPLENDOUR OF GOD

THE SPLENDOUR OF GOD

The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at sacred-texts.com

The Wisdom of the East Series
EDITED BY
L. CRANMER-BYNG
Dr. S. A. KAPADIA

 

THE SPLENDOUR OF GOD

 

WISDOM OF THE EAST

 

THE SPLENDOUR OF GOD

 

BEING EXTRACTS FROM THE SACRED WRITINGS OF THE BAHA’IS

 

WITH INTRODUCTION BY ERIC HAMMOND

 

NEW YORK,

 

E. P. DUTTON AND COMPANY

 

[1909]

 

PRINTED BY

 

HAZELL, WATSON AND VINEY, LD.,

 

LONDON AND AYLESBURY,

 

ENGLAND.

Scanned, proofed and formatted at sacred-texts.com, April 2010, by John Bruno Hare. This text is in the public domain in the US because it was published prior to 1923.

The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at sacred-texts.com

[p. 4] [p. 5]

 

CONTENTS

A GLIMPSE THROUGH THE GATE

<page 9>
THE BAB: THE FORETELLER

<page 18>
BAHA’U’LLAH: THE ONE FORETOLD

<page 25>
ABBAS EFFENDI: “THE SERVANT OF GOD”

<page 41>
THE SEVEN VALLEYS

<page 52>
TEXTS FROM THE TABLETS

<page 85>
HIDDEN WORDS

<page 91>

 

The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at sacred-texts.com

[p. 6]

 

THE BENEDICTION OF ABBAS EFFENDI, THE PROPHET OF THE BAHAI RELIGION, TO THE AUTHOR OF THIS BOOK:

“O GOD, bring this Servant of thine near to the Divine Threshold; give him life through the breath of the Holy Spirit. Open his eyes, loosen his tongue, and cause him to walk in the path of the Kingdom. Confirm him in Thy service. Grant him eloquent speech and a fluent pen. Make him beloved in both worlds. If Thou wilt grant him such bounties, he will be acceptable to the people of knowledge and will become world-renowned. Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty.”

The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at sacred-texts.com

[p. 7] [p. 8]

 

EDITORIAL NOTE

THE object of the Editors of this series is a very definite one. They desire above all things that, in their humble way, these books shall be the ambassadors of good-will and understanding between East and West–the old world of Thought and the new of Action. In this endeavour, and in their own sphere, they are but followers of the highest example in the land. They are confident that a deeper knowledge of the great ideals and lofty philosophy of Oriental thought may help to a revival of that true spirit of Charity which neither despises nor fears the nations of another creed and colour. Finally, in thanking press and public for the very cordial reception given to the “Wisdom of the East” Series, they wish to state that no pains have been spared to secure the best specialists for the treatment of the various subjects at hand.

L. CRANMER-BYNG.
S. A. KAPADIA.

NORTHBROOK SOCIETY,
185 PICCADILLY, W.

The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at sacred-texts.com

[p. 9]

 

THE SPLENDOUR OF GOD

 

A GLIMPSE THROUGH THE GATE

“IN the Beginning was the Word . . . and the Word was Good.”

To trace the Word back to the beginning of things, if that were possible, would be to lead back also to the heart of things; to the soul of religion; the light that has illumined all human efforts towards the construction of some external evidence, some symbolic representation, of the spiritual potentiality in mankind.

It is alleged that creeds tend inevitably to ossification; that the vitality of religions is apt to lose itself in their development; that the embroideries of ritual serve, finally, only to obscure the light which they profess to adorn and magnify.

Nothing, throughout history, has been more painfully demonstrated than the barriers to brotherhood built up by the rivalry of religions; a rivalry often more fully emphasised than softened by missionary zeal.

[p. 10]

Yet the Source of Spirituality must be one, even as God is one; and the differing languages and systems by means of which spirituality strives to assert itself, although they go far in the direction of perpetuating division between races and men, have, after all, a common origin lying dim and only partially realisable in the shadow of the bygone.

Bahais claim not only the acknowledgment of the spiritual relationship of all men, but its practical endorsement. Visitors to Abbas Effendi, at his home in Acca, are of many tongues and many nations. He has ardent adherents in America, England, France, and Germany, besides thousands of disciples Eastern in education and in temperament. Men of opposing peoples and professions eat at his table together, and the Master himself waits upon his guests in sacred service.

This much has certainly been brought about.

Bahais claim, too, the adhesion of at least a third of the Persian people. They assure us also that the Light, from Acca, has expelled the darkness of division from minds schooled in distrust, if not in hatred, of other minds. More; they claim that Bahaism has, and holds aloft in the light of men, the Light of Love; a light that cannot fail to rend asunder the veil of separation, and enable man to see and love man, notwithstanding any divergence of nation or origin, of colour, caste, or creed.

[p. 11]

The shining of this light of love shows man to man as he is, for its rays penetrate the concealing folds of ignorance and suspicion consequent to ignorance.

Wherever Bahais meet they meet on common ground. Throwing aside all the accumulated antagonisms of the past, they rejoice unreservedly in the glad communion of the present; of the day of their Lord.

If Acca, or Rangoon, Paris, London, or New York be their centre of resort, no question of theological theories is permitted to strike a discordant note. Brotherhood, among them, is not merely a “may-be;” it is a visible, actual fact. Buddhist and Mohammedan, Hindu and Zoroastrian, Jew and Christian, sit at one board in amity, eat of one dish, and offer united thanksgiving to one Giver. This most remarkable perception and practice of unity is the result of the light of “The glory of the glory of God.”

Illumined by this light, men are no longer blinded by fear of one another; fear is utterly cast out by this light of love. Fear; of violence, of over-reaching, of any evil-doing; fear;–is transformed into fraternity.

The Light “that lighteth every man that cometh into this world,” finds its opportunity open. This is the light towards which Bahaism bids all men turn. Luminosity creates love. Before it, darkness and shadows flee away, and

[p. 12]

doubt, born of darkness, dies. It is the design of Bahaism that men shall not look for evil in one another, but for good. The utterance of Asoka, in his memorable charge to missionaries, is re-uttered by Bahaism to-day:–“‘Remember that everywhere you will find some sort of faith and righteousness. See that you foster this, and do not destroy”; and the new utterance is accentuated by inalienable faith in the efficiency of the Light.

In a Talk given by the Master, Abbas Effendi, in Acca, he said:

“Our spiritual perception, our inward sight must be opened, so that we see the signs and traces of God’s Spirit in everything. Everything can speak to us of God; everything can reflect to us the Light of the Spirit. When we look at people, we must look at them for the spirit that is in them: we must see them in their relation to God,–that they are His creatures and belonging to Him. We must not look at the faults and imperfections of people, but at the spirit within which causes them to live. Therefore when we look at a man, and love and praise him, the praise is for the signs of God upon him. We must always strive to have a heart clear and pure, so that the Light of the Spirit may be reflected from it in all its fulness.”

[p. 13]

Differences and distinctions created by creeds are obliterated by the light which shines, glowing and undisturbed, from the one source of all religious impulse and all religious life. Bahaism affirms that all the great prophets and seers, inspirers of great religious movements, were manifestations of the One Divine Light, the One Holy Spirit of God, and that the inspiration is essentially one; notwithstanding divergencies induced by racial or climatic or sacerdotal influence.

The Master, Abbas Effendi, has declared:

“O People! the Doors of the Kingdom are opened; the Sun of Truth is shining upon the world; the Greatest and Most Glorious Light is now manifest to illumine the hearts of men. . . . The Light of Knowledge hath appeared, before which the darkness of every superstitious fancy will be annihilated.”

Invited to enquire into the “motif” and the bearing of the Bahais, we are immediately notified that the secret, the impulse, the performance of the underlying principle of unity is indubitably with them. We find in them a consistency, a harmony, commanding reverential consideration. Their attitude towards men of all lands and all languages; their philosophic and practical acceptance of the oneness of real religion, compel our studious recognition.

[p. 14]

This pronouncement of Baha’u’llah is as lucid as it is steadfast:

“O ye discerning ones of the people! Verily the words which have descended from the Heaven of the Will of God are the source of Unity and Harmony for the world. Close your eyes to racial differences. Welcome all with the light of oneness. Be the cause of the comfort and the advancement of humanity. This handful of dust, the world, is one home; let it be in unity. Forsake pride: it is a cause of discord. Follow that which leads to harmony.”

The spiritual unification of the race is the great aim of Bahaism. It does not propose the wholesale disintegration of creeds and cults, but, looking through these, discerns the shining of the light, behind, beyond. It recognises the truth in each religious phase, but decries any attempt of any phase to pose as sole interpretation of the truth.

It regards the Kingdom of God as universal rather than particular in the range of its realm. Each prophet, each seer, had his message to deliver, and the burden of that message, rightly interpreted, was “The Lord our God is one God”; not “The Lord our God is for one people.”

“These supreme, holy souls” (the prophets or manifestations) “are God-like in their

[p. 15]

attributes. The garments in which they appear are different, but the attributes are the same. In their real and intrinsic power, they show forth the Perfection of God. The reality of God in them never varies; only the garment in which the Primal Reality is clothed is different according to the time and place of their appearance and declaration to the world. One day it is the garment of Abraham, then Moses, then Jesus, then Baha’u’llah. Knowledge of this oneness is true enlightenment. Some see the garment only and worship the Personality; some see the reality and worship in spirit and in truth. Some of the Hebrews admired the embroidered beauty of the garment of Abraham, but were blind to the Real Light which shone upon the darkness of the world through him. Moses was denied, Jesus was denied, crucified; all have been denied and persecuted for this reason. Men see the garment and are blind to the reality; worship the Personality and do not know the Truth, the Light itself. Some worship the Tree of Life, but do not eat of the blessed Fruit of the Tree. Therefore differences and disagreements arise in religious belief. If all men ate of the Fruit itself, they could never disagree. . . . Terms are of no importance. The Fruits of the Tree should be our desire.

[p. 16]

[paragraph continues] These are the spiritual ‘grapes.’ Find the Light itself, and there will be no difference of opinion or belief as to the Personality or Degree of the Manifestations of God.”

To Jesus the Christ this question was put by His disciples: “Tell us, What is the Sign of Thy Presence?” Our Lord replied, “As the lightning doth come forth from the East and doth appear unto the West, so shall be also the Presence of the Son of Man.” The manifestation that instructs Bahaism to-day says:

“The greatest proof of a manifestation is the Manifestation Himself.

We do not have to prove the existence of the sun. The sun is independent of proof. He who has sight can see the sun and prove it for himself. . . . The sun’s light is indispensable. . . .

God with all his qualities is independent of all His creatures. Look at the Christ. He was a youth of Israel, not a great and honoured man, but from a poor family. He was so poor that He was born in a manger; yet He changed the conditions of the whole world. What proof could be greater than this that He was from God? . . .

Without this Light the world could not grow spiritually.

[p. 17]

TEXTS FROM THE TABLETS OF BAHA’U’LLAH

“ASSOCIATION (intercourse) is always conducive to union and harmony; and union and harmony are the cause of the order of the world and the life of nations.

Forbearance and Benevolence . . . are as two lights for the darkness of the world; and as two teachers to lead nations to knowledge.

Good character is, verily, the best mantle for men on the part of God.

Gaze towards Justice and Equity under all circumstances.

Trustworthiness . . . is the door of tranquillity to all the world; the best garment for your temples and the most splendid crown for your heads.

Make not light of any matter, but speak in Truthfulness and Sincerity.

[p. 86]

Refuse not to discharge the due reward of any one; respect possessors of talent; stain not tongues with slander.

Knowledge is one of the greatest benefits of God. To acquire knowledge is incumbent on all.

Tablet of Tarazet.

The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at sacred-texts.com

O people of God! Be not occupied with yourselves. Be intent on the betterment of the world and the training of nations.

Glory is not his who loves his native land; but glory is his who loves his kind.

Courtesy is the lord of all the virtues.

The deniers and contradictors hold to four words:

First: Destroying men’s lives.

Second: Burning the Books.

Third: Shunning other nations.

Fourth: Exterminating other communities.

Now, by the Grace and Authority of the Word of God, these four great barriers have been demolished . . . and God hath changed brutal manners into spiritual qualities.

Certain laws and principles are necessary and indispensable for Persia; but it is suitable that these should be accomplished in accord with the wish of the Shah, the eminent doctors, and the great State authorities.

[p. 87]

The fear of God is the real guardian and the ideal protector. Flee from that which is redolent of corruption (or sedition).

Tablet of the World.

The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at sacred-texts.com

Those souls (mystic Sufis) have affirmed, concerning the stages of Divine Unity, that which is the greatest cause of idleness and superstition. They have, indeed, removed the distinction and have imagined themselves to be God. The True One is sanctified above all; (but) His Signs are manifest in all things. The Signs are from Him–not He Himself.

Consider the rays of the sun; its lights have encompassed the world, but these splendours are from it, and from its manifestations; they are through itself, but are not itself.

Schools must first train the children in the principles of Religion, so that the Promise and the Threat recorded in the Books of God may prevent them from the things forbidden and adorn them with the mantle of the Commandments; but this in such a measure that it may not injure the children by resulting in ignorant fanaticism and bigotry.

The trustees (members) of the House of Justice must consult upon the ordinances as they are outwardly revealed in the Book, and then enforce of these whatever prove agreeable to them.

[p. 88]

Moderation is desirable in every affair.

Consider the civilisation of the people of the Occident–how it has occasioned commotion and agitation. . . . There has appeared an infernal instrument, and atrocity is displayed in the destruction of life. It is impossible to reform these violent evils, except the peoples of the world become united in affairs, or in one Religion.

Praise be to God. A wonderful thing is perceived; the lightning (electricity) and similar forces are subdued by a conductor and act by his command. Exalted is the Mighty One who hath made manifest that which He desired, through His absolute Invincible Command.

Each one of the revealed Commands is a strong fortress for the (protection of the) world.

A solitary life and severe discipline do not meet God’s approval. The possessors of perception and knowledge should look to the means which are conducive to joy and fragrance.

Deprive not yourselves of that which is created for you.

Charity is beloved and acceptable before God, and is accounted the chief among all good deeds.

The Reflective Faculty (or the Mind) is the depository of crafts, arts and sciences. Exert

[p. 89]

yourselves, so that the gems of knowledge and wisdom may proceed from this ideal mine, and conduce to the tranquillity and union of the different nations of the world.

Under all circumstances, whether in adversity or comfort, in glory or affliction . . . show forth love and affection, compassion and union.

Words of Paradise.

The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at sacred-texts.com

All the former and later Books of God are adorned with His commemoration and speak His praise. Through Him the standard of knowledge is planted in the world, and the Banner of Unity is hoisted among nations.

Knowledge is like unto wings for the being (of man) and is as a ladder for ascending. . . . The possessors of sciences and arts have a great right among the people of the world. Whereunto testifies the Mother of Divine Utterance in the Day of Return. Joy unto those that hear.

Knowledge is the means of honour, prosperity, joy, gladness, happiness and exultation.

He (The Bab) says in description of ‘He-whom-God-shall-manifest’;–’Verily, He is the One who shall utter in all grades, “Verily, I am God. There is no God but Me, the Lord of all things, and all besides Me is created by Me! O ye My

[p. 90]

creatures! Ye are to worship Me!”‘ Likewise, in another place, speaking of ‘He-whom-God-shall-manifest,’ he says, ‘Verily, I (The Bab) am the first one of those who worship Him.’

Now, man must reflect upon the ‘Worshipper’ (The Bab); and the ‘Worshipped One’ (Baha’u’llah); perchance the people of the earth may attain to a drop of the Sea of Knowledge, and comprehend the Station of this Manifestation. Verily, He hath appeared, and hath spoken in Truth. Blessed is he who confesses and acknowledges, and woe unto every remote denier.”

The Tablet of Tajalleyat.

The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at sacred-texts.com

Revealed by Baha’u’llah, at Akka.
Translated by Ali Kuli Khan.

“As to the meaning of the Cause of Baha’u’llah: know that whatever there is which has to do with the Universal Good, is divine–and whatever is divine is, certainly, for the universal good. If it is true, it is for all; if not, it is for no one. Therefore a Divine Cause of Universal Good cannot be limited either to the East or to the West; for the radiance of the Sun of Truth illumines both the East and the West, and it makes its heat felt in the South as in the North; there is no difference between one pole and the other.”

From The Tablet of Ishraket Baha’u’llah.

The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at sacred-texts.com

[p. 91]

SOME HIDDEN WORDS AND WORDS OF WISDOM

FROM “THE SUPREME PEN” OF BAHA’U’LLAH

HE is the Glory of the Most Glorious!

This is that which descended from the Source of Majesty, through the tongue of Power and Strength, upon the prophets of the past.

We have taken its essence and clothed it with the garment of brevity, as a favour to the beloved; that they may fulfil the Covenant of God; that they may perform in themselves that which He has entrusted to them, and attain the victory by virtue of devotion in the land of the Spirit.

The Splendour of God, by Eric Hammond, [1909], at sacred-texts.com

OF THE LIGHT

O Son of Existence! My lamp thou art, and My Light is in thee. Therefore be illumined by it, and seek no one but Me; for I have created thee rich, and upon thee have I showered abundant grace.

By the Hands of Power I have made thee, and

[p. 92]

by the Fingers of Strength have I created thee. I have placed in thee the essence of My Light.

Therefore depend upon It, and upon nothing else, for My Action is perfect and My Command has effect. Doubt this not, and have no uncertainty therein.

O Son of Light! Forget all else save Me, and be comforted by My Spirit. This is from the essence of My Command; therefore direct thyself to it.

Thou art My Possession, and My Possession shall never be destroyed. Why art thou in fear of thy destruction?

Thou art My Light, and My Light shall never become extinct. Why dost thou dread extinction?

Thou art My Glory, and My Glory shall not be veiled. Thou art My Garment, and My Garment shall never be outworn. Therefore abide in thy love to Me, that thou mayest find Me in the Highest Horizon.

My Right to thee is great and cannot be denied. My Mercy for thee is ample and cannot be ignored. My Love in thee exists and cannot be concealed. My Light to thee is manifest and cannot be obscured.

O Son of Spirit! The Gospel of Light I herald to thee; rejoice in it. And to the state of Holiness I call thee; Abide in it, that thou mayest be in peace for ever and ever.

O Son of Man! Magnify My Command, that

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[paragraph continues] I may reveal to thee the secrets of greatness and illumine thee with the Light of Eternity.

O Son of Man! My Calamity is My Providence. In appearance it is fire and vengeance; in reality it is Light and Mercy. Therefore approach it, that thou mayest become an Eternal Light and an Immortal Spirit. This is My Command; know thou It.

O Son of Man! Days have passed by thee, and thou hast occupied thyself with thy fanciful imaginations. How long wilt thou thus sleep upon thy bed? Lift up thy head from slumber, for the sun has climbed to the zenith that He may illumine thee with the Lights of Beauty.

The Light has shone upon thee from the horizon of the Mount, and the Spirit of Purity has breathed in the Sinai of thy heart.

Therefore empty thyself of doubts and fancies; then enter into this Mansion, that thou mayest be prepared for the Eternal Life and ready to meet Me. Herein there is no death, no trouble nor burden.

O Children of Men! Do ye know why We have created ye from one clay? That no one should glorify himself over the other. Be ye ever mindful of how ye were created.

Since We created ye all from the same substance, ye must be as one soul, walking with the same feet, eating with one mouth, and living in one land, that ye may manifest with your being,

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and by your deeds and actions, the signs of unity and the spirit of Oneness.

This is My Counsel to ye, O People of Light! Therefore follow it, that ye may attain the fruits of Holiness from the Tree of Might and Power.

O Son of Man! On the tablet of the Spirit write all We have uttered to thee, with the ink of Light; and, if thou canst not do this, then make the ink of the essence of thy heart; and, if thou art still unable, then write with the red ink shed in My Path. Verily this is more precious to Me than all else; for this Radiance shall last for ever.

O Stranger to The Friend! The candle of thy mind is lighted by the hand of My Power; extinguish it not with the contrary winds of desires and passions. The healer of all thy troubles is remembrance of Me; forget it not. Make My Love thy Capital, and cherish it as the spirit of thine eye.

O My Friends! Extinguish the lamp of ignorance, and kindle the Ever-burning Torch of guidance in the heart and mind. For in a short while the Assayers of Being shall accept naught but pure virtue in the portico of the Presence of the Adored One, and will receive none but holy deeds.

O Children of Imagination! Know ye that when the Radiant Morn dawns from the eternal horizon of Holiness, then all the Satanic secrets and deeds, which have been committed in the

[p. 95]

dark night, shall become manifest to the people of the world.

The Sun of Truth is the Word of God, upon which depends the training of the people of the country of thought.

It is the Spirit of Reality and the Water of Life. All things owe their existence to it. Its manifestation is ever according to the capacity and colouring of the mirror which reflects it. For example: Its Light, when cast on the mirrors of the wise, gives expression to wisdom; when reflected from the minds of artists, it produces manifestations of new and beautiful arts; when it shines through the minds of students, it reveals knowledge and unfolds mysteries.

All things of the world arise through man and are manifest in him, through whom they find life and development; and man is dependent for his (Spiritual) existence upon the Sun of the Word of God.

All the good names and lofty qualities are of the Word. The Word is the Fire of God, which, glowing in the hearts of people, burns away all things that are not of God. The minds of the Lovers of Light are ever aflame with this fire. It is the essence of water, which has manifested itself in the form of fire.

Outwardly it is the burning fire, while inwardly it is calm light. This is the water which giveth life to all things.

[p. 96]

We beg of God that we may partake of this Life-giving Water of Heaven, and quaff from the Spiritual Chalice of Rest, and thus be free from all that tends to withhold us from approaching His love.

In this day he who seeks the Light of the Sun of Truth must free his mind from the tales of the past, must adorn his head with the crown of severance, and his temple with the drapery of virtue. Then shall he arrive at the ocean of Oneness and enter the presence of singleness.

The heart must become free from the fire of superstitions, that it may receive the Light of Assurance, and that it may perceive the Glory of God.

The people of Baha must serve the Lord with wisdom, teach others by their lives, and manifest the Light of God in their deeds. The effect of deeds is in truth more powerful than that of words.

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